Cleaning and repacking wheel bearings:
The job of cleaning and repacking wheel bearings is one that most DIY mechanics don't really like to complete for one simple reason - it's a messy job. In order to remove the wheel bearings, clean them, and repack them with grease, you'll have to make sure the vehicle is raised and that you have plenty of room to work under and around the entire wheel hub. It's always a good idea to clean and repack wheel bearings on the same axle the same day or during the same service.
The steps for removing, cleaning and repacking wheel bearings are rather easy to complete for the experienced DIY mechanic. In most cases, you can complete each wheel bearing within two to three hours each. As noted above, it's critical for you to service both sides of the same axle during the same service (or before putting the vehicle back into service). The steps noted below are GENERAL in nature, so always refer to your service manual for exact steps and procedures.
Step 1: Remove the battery cables. On many vehicles, there are sensors attached to the wheels (ABS system and speedometer) that are supplied by power from the battery.
Step 2: Raise vehicle on hydraulic lift or on jack stands. If you have access to a hydraulic lift, use it.
Step 3: Remove the wheel from the hub. After the vehicle is raised, start on one side and complete the side before moving onto the other.
Step 4: Remove the brake caliper from the hub. In order to remove the center hub and clean the wheel bearings, you'll have to remove the brake caliper.
As each vehicle is unique, the process is just as unique. Follow the steps in your service manual for removing the brake caliper. Do NOT remove brake lines during this step.
Step 5: Remove the outer wheel hub cover. When the brake calipers and brake pads have been removed, you'll need to remove the wheel bearing cover.
Step 6: Remove the center cotter pin. Once the wheel bearing cover has been removed, the center wheel hub nut and a cotter pin will be visible.
Step 7: Remove center hub nut. To remove the center hub nut, you'll need a fitting socket and ratchet.
Step 8: Remove the inner seal and wheel bearing. Some mechanics believe in the old "place the nut on the spindle and remove the inner wheel bearing" trick, but that's really not a good way to do this.
Step 9: Clean the wheel bearings and spindle. The best way to clean wheel bearings and the spindle of the axle is to remove all old grease with shop rags or disposable paper towels. This takes some time and can get quite messy, so make sure you use latex rubber gloves to protect your hands from exposure to chemicals.